home bookshop feed the hungry   earthly pursuits logo
what's new old book library safe seed pledge  
contact about books about food & recipes  
links I  II   garden tips  
search flower language blether  
  alphabetized flowers     flowers by meaning companion planting  
    click here to make a
"free" contribution to earthly pursuits

Gardening :

THE GARDEN MAGAZINE - May 1917 page 231

Plan of Garden 50 feet square
Plan of Garden 50-ft. square

May 1917
Front Cover / Inside Front
Inside Back / Back Cover


211 Spring Time is Lilac Time AD
More Crops from Your Garden ADs
215 Manure, Catalog ADs
216 Nursery, Bulb ADs
217 Irrigation, Greenhouse ADs
218 Nurseries, Portable Houses ADs
219 Table of Contents
220 The President to the People (Wilson's plea for gardens)
221 Among our Garden Neighbors
222 Papaya, Opal Anchusa, Cotton, Japanese Knotweed
223 Gordonia, Building a Better Home, Letters
224 The Month's Reminder
225 Summer Flower-Roots for Present Planting - Gladiolus
New Deutzias Better than Old
230 The Rockery Idea in Edgings
231 Home Vegetable Gardens A Patriotic Duty
How the Modern Lilac Came to Be
234 Victor Lemoine, Plant Hybridist
The Evolution of My Garden
237 The New Race of Hardy Astilbes
Prepare in May for Winter Flowers
Novelties in Summer Flower-roots and Bulbs
243 Flower Ads
244 The Fruit Garden -
Crown Grafting
245 Nursery ADs
How to Pot A Plant
247 Gladiolus, Evergreens, Trellis ADs
249 Lawn Mower, Nurseries ADs
250 Insurance by Protection
251 Flower ADs
252 Watermelon Stem End Rot
253 Lawn Mower, Flowers ADs
254 The Indigoferas for Late Flower
255 Shrubs, Rudyard Kipling, Humas ADs
Coming Events Club & Society News
257 Book ADs
259 Greenhouse, Birdhouse, Portable Houses, Flag Poles ADs
261 Pottery, Greenhouse, Stoves, Wire Cloth ADs
262 Companions for Larkspurs
263 War Air Generator, Listerine, Stanley, Birdhouses ADs
264 Chicken Chowder, Fence, Portable Poultry Runways, Oregon & California Railroad Co. Land Grants for Sale (2,300,000 acres)ADs


Home Vegetable Gardens A Patriotic Duty

ANNA M. BURKE - Massachusetts

OUR kitchen garden is small—a scant fifty feet each way—yet from it are gathered practically all the vegetables needed for a family of three from the middle of May to the first of November, with a good surplus sterilized in glass jars for winter use.
   Yet, however great the yield, I always consider that the best crop gathered from the garden is experience. The year that I do not discover some new variety, an improved method of growing, or some better arrangement or combination of vegetables, leaves me with a barren feeling, conscious of having taken a step backward rather than forward in garden culture. But let us take things specifically in detail.
   Corn. Although the catalogues set the middle of May as the time to plant corn, we plant half a row about May 1st, or even earlier if the season is warm. The dwarf yellow varieties (Golden Bantam and its successors), are quite hardy, and if the weather is good, early planting gives a fine start, whereas the loss of a few seed is immaterial if conditions prove unfavorable. This year I shall try the experiment of setting a row of 10-inch boards along each side of the trench and laying sheets of glass on top, to form a sort of frame. This simple device proved very successful with lettuce last fall, keeping it growing up to Thanksgiving in the open garden. I shall try the same device with string beans, and later with cucumbers [and we hope tell The Garden Magazine of the results—Ed.].
   String Beans. After experiencing the surfeit of string beans that follows a generous planting of this vegetable, I have adopted the plan of sowing a very small quantity at intervals of two weeks. Much seed is wasted by planting thickly, because beans need to be six inches apart in the row to do well, and eight or ten inches apart is better still. By selecting only the plumpest and firmest seed, I can set them the required distance apart, thus wasting no see and sparing myself the trouble of thinning thereafter. Our garden is comparatively free from cut-worms, thanks to frequent cultivation and the encouragement of bird neighbors, but where this pest abounds the seed must be sown more thickly to allow for his depredations.
   Lima Beans. Having tried without marked success the pole varieties and the large-seeded bush limas, we have found that the small Sieva bean (Henderson's Bush Lima) can be depended upon to produce a good crop whether the summer be cold or hot, wet or dry. Every seed seems to germinate (therefore may be sown thinly, requiring less seed), and the yield of small, but well filled, pods continues until frost.
   Tomatoes. We have always trained our tomatoes on 6-foot stakes, because they take up less room, but after several years' experimenting I have come to the conclusion that the pinching off of all but one stem is a needless sacrifice, unless one desires to grow a few specimen fruits. Two and even three or four stalks may be allowed to develop, with no appreciable loss in size or quality of the tomatoes, and the yield is much greater. About the first of September pinch off the tip of each branch, allowing the strength of the plant to go into developing the fruit already set, rather than producing more blossoms which could not be expected to mature before frost. Contrary to the advice of some authorities, we find the tomato does best in a fairly rich soil.
  Chinese Cabbage. Although we usually fight shy of novelties, we tried the Chinese cabbage and found it a most attractive vegetable, producing firm, elongated heads of crisp, white leaves, which may be used as a salad or cooked as a vegetable. It is delicious either way. Care must be taken, however, not to plant the seed too early, or the heat of midsummer will cause it to send up blossom stalks instead of forming heads. If planted about the first of July and kept growing steadily, firm white heads weighing two or three pounds, will be produced in September. Query: Might it not also be started in a frame in March and matured before hot weather, as in the case of cauliflower?
    Witloof Chicory. If you relish the bitter tang of this salad (sometimes called French Endive), for which restaurants and markets ask such good prices, you may be interested to know that it can be forced all winter in your own cellar. An article by Frances K. Porter in the April, 1916, GARDEN MAGAZINE prompted me to try this vegetable, and my almost perfect success makes me anxious to add a word in its favor. Seed was sown in drills eighteen inches apart about the middle of May, thinned to stand six inches apart in the row, and kept cultivated all summer, with an occasional dose of nitrate of soda. The larger the roots, the better they will force. About the first of November the parsnip-like roots were dug and piled in a sheltered corner next the house, covering them with coarse litter. A dozen roots were forced at a time, setting them upright in a deep box (an orange box with tow compartments is ideal) and filling in around them with good garden loam, mixed with fine bone meal. The box should be deep enough so that the soil may cover the tops to a depth of three or four inches, and this top soil should be sifted. The box was placed beside the heater in the cellar, given a good watering with lukewarm water, and covered with papers to keep out the light. In a few days white shoots began to show and in two weeks we had thick cones of tightly folded leaves, crisp and perfectly blanched. We cut them an inch or two below the surface of the soil, and the plants continued to send up more shoots. By bringing in roots at intervals of two weeks, salad may be enjoyed all winter.
   Peas. We used to be quite satisfied if this delectable vegetable graced our Fourth of July dinner table, but after observing an old Italian, who tilled a vacant lot nearby, pick well grown peas by the middle of June, I set out to learn his secret. It was really very simple—merely early planting in the sunniest spot available. Now we do not wait until the ground has dried out, but just as soon as it can be worked (about April 1st to 9th, latitude of Boston), the first sowing of peas is made in a 2-inch trench. If possible, the trench is opened the day before, which gives the sun a chance to warm and dry the soil. Only an inch of covering is put on the seed, the rest being filled in as the little plants grow. These early planted peas have a larger and better root system than those planted later, with consequent increase in quality and quantity of pods. Another "experience"" By planting medium and late varieties at one time in the latter part of April we get a longer yielding season than if early varieties are planted at intervals in succession. The early varieties all strive to make up for lost time the moment they get into the ground, and rush to maturity in quantities that glut the market, leaving a dearth to follow. The late varieties are planted in a 6-inch trench, which gives their roots better foraging ground through the heat of midsummer. Indeed, this season I am planting the late peas in a 10- or 12-inch trench (like Sweet Peas), filling in the trench gradually, of course. This should help them to weather quite a severe dry spell.
Potatoes. Most books on gardening state that the potato has no place in a small garden—although after the exorbitant prices commanded by this plebeian vegetable during the past winter, one expects to see even the front lawns turned into potato patches! But even under normal conditions I think it pays to plant a row or two of early potatoes, and to plant them early. My neighbors used to scoff until I "showed" them by having potatoes for the table by July Fourth, when theirs were scarcely in blossom. If the ground is at all fit, early potatoes may be planted the first week in April. If the season is backward, time may be saved by sprouting the seed in a warm cellar. By planting the sets in a furrow eight or ten inches deep, gradually filling in as they grow, they may be given level cultivation, which prevents the evaporation of moisture that is attendant on the old hilling system.
   Companion Cropping. In the arrangement of the garden, perhaps, more than in anything else do we learn by experience. When one has but a limited space available for a garden plot, it is necessary to utilize every inch of it throughout the summer. By allowing a little extra space between the rows two crops may often be grown as companions, with great saving of space. Some combinations which I have found especially good are:
   (1) Early Peas, Lettuce and Tomatoes: The early peas are planted in two double rows with a 3-foot strip between the double rows. By planting in double rows one row of brush supports two of peas. After the peas are in, a shallow furrow is plowed through the middle of the 3-foot strip, plenty of fertilizer is worked in, and young lettuce plants from a frame are set in the furrow, placing them six inches apart and leaving a 12-inch space after every second lettuce plant. In these empty spaces tomato plants are set about the middle of May, the supporting stakes being first set. The peas are out of the way by July 1st, and are followed by celery plants in one row and Chinese cabbage in the other. Thus we are able to grow peas, lettuce, tomatoes, celery and Chinese cabbage in a strip five feet wide and fifty feet long.
   (2) Late Peas and Corn. The late peas are also planted in double rows, with a 3-foot strip between, and in this strip is planted about June 1st Golden Bantam corn for succession, putting a few winter squash seeds in the row at intervals of four feet. The squash and corn have the ground after the peas are done.
   (3) Onion Sets and Green Peppers: These form an excellent combination. The onion sets are planted about the first of April in two shallow furrows eighteen inches apart. They are placed three inches apart in the row, skipping a set every eighteen inches. The latter part of May, sweet pepper plants are set in the empty spaces. Both onions and peppers may be cultivated freely, and by the time the onions are ready to pull, the peppers are beginning to branch and will occupy the ground until frost.
   (4) Potatoes and Late Corn: By leaving a 4-foot space between the potato rows instead of the regulation three feet, a row of late corn may be planted between them May 15th, setting some pumpkin seeds in the row with the corn. Squash or other vines may be used as well. The point is that the corn and vine crops will flourish in the same row and will use the ground until frost.
   (5) Corn and Cucumbers. Our cucumbers are planted in rows instead of hills, setting four or five seeds of early corn every two feet in the row. We prefer the drill system for cucumbers because the ground may be cultivated more easily with the wheel hoe, and by pegging them with forked sticks the vines may be trained along the row, taking us less room and enabling the fruit to be gathered without trampling the vines.
   (6) Radishes: No special part of the garden is set aside for radishes; instead, the quick-germinating seeds are used as a marker for those which germinate more slowly, or the seed is sown in rows which a few weeks later will be used for other vegetables. We have found Icicle excellent.
   There are one or two points which must be borne din mind in planning for companion and succession crops. The ground must be well fertilized. Sufficient room must be left for frequent cultivation, except with vine crops which ultimately cover the ground and render cultivation unnecessary. Vegetables which must be sprayed with poisonous solutions should not be planted near those whose edible portions are exposed above ground. In even the smallest garden rotation of crops should be practiced. The accompanying plant has been proved by use.


previous          next